31 October, 2008

It's so easy to think of smoking

Each time a stressful event happens. I think I've had plenty since last July. My oldest found a lump last summer, then married in September. My sister found true love and married. My Mom is losing her vision and can no longer drive. My youngest daughter just went through surgery to discover that she does not have endometriosis.

My change of life craziness doesn't help at all. Hormone shifts causing weeping moments out of the blue. Some of the time I have such trouble focusing. Wishing for things that I shouldn't.

Work has it's own trials. Too much to do for one person. Just lost a number of good people.

I just had a fantasy of grabbing one of my husbands cigarettes. I'd really like to hold one between my fingers and smell the length of it. It's been over 15 months! I won't do it. I can't. I've come way too far.

It's Halloween and I should be laughing! At least tomorrow I can get out and ride. We are having unbelievable weather again. 70s and sunny with no rain in sight.

23 October, 2008

Chivalry still lives

I can't say it exists everywhere. I witness it on occasion, but not often.

Last night I went on the Wednesday night club ride. It is similar to the TNWs. I've clocked it at 27 miles. Now this ride hasn't moved it's start as early as many of the other evening rides, though it's longer. It's been listed as lights required. I got to the ride start, had my light and was ready. It was fairly cool, 59F and very breezy at the 6:00 start, but the sun was still shining and felt warm on your face.

I was the only female to show! No big deal. There were probably 25 or so that showed up. This ride is great fun and challenging for me. My biggest drawback for now is I need some warmer gear to wear. Booties or toe warmers are on top of the list. Next would be a few long-sleeved thin, wicking t-shirts to wear as a base layer, next a wind breaker that is rain resistent. From here I could go a little nuts with my wish list. :-)

We started out and I stayed with the lead group until that darned little inclined on Blankenbaker. I lost ground, but could see them ahead. I made up some ground on the downhill - was going about 31MPH which was great fun but felt like I was in a beer cooler with a fan on. Unfortunately, they caught the light at River Rd and I didn't. Murph reached me and we started out River Rd together. There were others behind, but I never saw them. As Murphy pulled, we chatted about the house he and his wife are trying to purchase. We ride down to the baseball stadium and start back down River Rd. As we turn onto Mockingbird I tell him that I'm going to bail at Brownsboro and head back. It's dusk and darkening quickly and the temps are dropping. When we get to the top he says that he's going back with me. I protest, because this will cut his ride short. He would have nothing to do but go with me. It was dark and he said he couldn't live with himself if something would happen. How would he feel if I had a flat an my spare tube wouldn't inflate? Let alone something worse. There wasn't anything I could do or say except, "thanks, Murph".

Once we got back to the start, he took off to see if he could find any of the others and get some more miles in. It was pitch dark. I really was glad that he rode back with me. But I am a grown up with a cell phone and can handle myself.

I had 18.5 miles in 1:16 minutes. Not exactly Speedy Gonzales, but my legs were happy.

22 October, 2008

Good to look back and reflect

I was looking at the club stat sheet last night. There are still rides happening through the end of the month and some have not been posted. I have 98 rides for 2500+ miles since April. I can't complain about that. I rode several on my own or with Dixie that aren't in that total.

Pretty cool for someone that quit smoking after 35 years. I was a cheerleader and ran track in high school. That has helped me come back as well as I have I think. I am so happy that I have been able to undo some of that damaging behavior.

Anyone can do anyting if they believe they can and work for it.

21 October, 2008

Time to get back on track

Last week was very off schedule for me. I rode my bike through Tuesday, but not again until Saturday. Initially, I was feeling guilty about it. I missed Sunday, too, since I was driving home.

I drove to St. Louis and visited a friend that recently retired. She has been a true mentor. She was my boss for a short while, maybe a little over a year. Best boss I've had since I was 20. It was a good visit. However, it was also educational. She and I talked quite a lot about work and some individuals that are still at my place of employment. She has good insights. I'm greatful that she shared them with me.

I mentioned that I would like to ride my bike and asked if her son-in-law (who swims, bikes and runs) could put together a cue sheet or at least some directions for a 35 mile ride. Very nice surprise that he joined me. It was cold, windy and flat. I still didn't feel on top of my game, though I kept trying to push myself. We only averaged about 15 mph and I apologised to him for holding him back. He talked almost the entire time. Very nice guy that is really into cycling, running, fitness and his 3 children that are adorable.

I am hoping to get back into a rhythm this week. I rode the Monday night tune-up last night and felt better than I have since riding the century. I honestly think taking time off of the saddle has done me some good. Now, I need to think about some kind of cross-training during the winter months. With the days getting shorter it will be almost impossible to ride during the week in just another week or so. So I will be relegated to the trainer and weekend rides.

My Mom seems to be doing okay with the not driving. I know she's depressed about it. We are all trying to do what we can. She has a friend that is taking her to a function during the day on Thursdays and another that is taking her to church on Wednesdays. Last night she said that she's noticed her sight has already improved since the last treatment. We have a couple of months before she goes back to the eye doctor. I am cautiously optimistic.

Since taking the thyroid hormone and the progesterone, I don't feel quite so crazy as before. However, I'm starting to have more and more difficulty staying asleep all night. Maybe it's only becase I've been off the bike, who knows. But without enough sleep I will start to lose my mind again. That isn't a pretty sight.

19 October, 2008

A Great Report

Monday I went and had bloodwork drawn to check my thyroid levels, then I went for my semi-annual check-up with the pulmonary doctor.

Dr. H asked how I was doing, if I was still smoke-free. I explained that I've been riding my bike 130 - 150 miles a week, with some having even more. I said no, I've not smoked since last July. He listened to my lungs, all clear. Then he said, let's try cutting back on the Advair. Go to once a day for a couple of weeks, if you tolerate that well you can cut back to every other day. I was estatic! My visit in April had been such a let down, emotionally. He told me to continue doing what I'm doing. I said something about running, he said I can do anything I want. But he also said running can be difficult on the joints, etc. with all that pounding. I asked about exercises to help increase lung capacity. He said I can increase efficiency, but not capacity. Keep doing what I'm doing. Scales still say 152, it's a number. Clothes fit great, which is the most important thing.

I'll be riding some winter training ride with Team Louisville's women's team soon. I need proper clothing for that! A reason to spend more money.

05 October, 2008

Another goal attained

It's been a couple of weeks since I wrote anything! Guess I've been lazy. Let's see, where to begin?

D and I rode most of the week following the races. I had some great club rides that week with some of the best times/avg MPH to date. The weather has been unbelievable. That week of the 21st was warm and sunny all week. The temps cooled down last week with lows in the 40s and highs 60s - 70s, but still sunny and beautiful days.

D's last club ride was Monday the 29th, our regular recovery ride. A group of us went to Bluegrass Brewing Company to eat and give D a nice send off. She was happy with the turn out. She drove back to Illinois on Tuesday. I miss her bunches! I rode the Tuesday night ride and had a great time. Was in a paceline on River Road and one guy asked me, didn't he hear me say I quit smoking? I said, yes last summer. He said I should be proud as I was doing so well. I thanked him for that.

I promised myself all summer that I would complete my first century (100 mile ride) before the season is over. There are a number of very tough ones on the schedule for October. Probably 2 of the best for a virgin century were held the weekend we were racing at the Senior Games. There was one on the schedule for yesterday, didn't have much information, just titled "Tour de Green". I decided to go ahead and attempt this one.

The temps were low 40s when I left the house and I just kept thinking I wasn't very well prepared for that low of a temperature. Once I arrived at the ride start and got all gear together and signed in the temps had reached about 54. Not bad standing still in the sunshine, a little chilly with the wind chill on the bike riding through the parks in the shade. My hands finally thawed once we got downtown, in the shade. I had never ridden across the 2nd Street bridge over the Ohio River on my bike before. Just a little nerve wracking - with traffic moving at a nice 60MPH clip. This ride was more like 2, the first half in Southern Indiana and the second half in mostly familiar routes in Louisville's River Road and St Matthews areas.

We rode from Clarksville to New Albany and into the knobs. There were 3 very tough hills. I tried to ride each, but wound up walking, pushing my bike. Needless to say, I was not with the rest of the riders once we climbed the first tough hill. They went ahead and the ride captain stayed with me. Once back to Clarksville, we met up with the rest at the lunch stop, but they wrapped up eating and took off before I could get my food. :-( Once we crossed the Ohio and were back in Louisville I told the Ride Captain to go on ahead. I was familiar with the rest of the ride and would be fine. I planned on finishing, but knew I would not be as fast as these more experienced riders. The Ohio River was the 50 mile mark. Once we go to River Road I tried to keep his rear wheel, but my gas was running a little low and my legs were getting heavy. Slowly he got further ahead of me until I finally lost sight of him. There were several loops between River Rd and Brownsboro Rd. Finally the last eastern trek down River Road took me to Prospect. The last store stop was at the Dairy Queen and everyone was just getting on their bikes and pulling out as I arrived. They clapped and congratulated me and left. The ride captain was wrapping up his snack, but waited for me. I told him to go ahead, but he pulled me back down River Road and hung with me the rest of the way. Once we arrived back at Seneca Park I told him I was going to loop the ball fields instead of following his cue sheet through the neighborhoods. I apologized for being such a whiny baby, but my shoulders were killing me and my hands were numb. I circled the ball fields 3 more times and then headed to the parking lot, circled the lot twice to watch my odometer click over that 100 mile mark and headed home. I was a little disappointed that no one was lingering in the lot, but realistically didn't expect there to be.

I took a nice long soak in the tub with the jets beating on my tired muscles. Dressed and went out to eat Mexican. Had a 27 oz margarita. Got home and had 2 beers. By this time I felt like I'd been hit by a Mac truck. I slept like a rock until the alarm went off at 6:30.

I've now got a century behind me! Another goal accomplished! Now what? ;-)